Nora Ephron


American Film Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Novelist, Playwright, Journalist, Author and Blogger, 3-time Nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplays for films "Silkwood", "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle"

Author Quotes

I am never completely cold. I don?t have writer?s block really. I do have times when I can?t get the lead and that is the only part of the story which I have serious trouble with. I don?t write a word of the article until I have the lead. It just sets the whole tone?the whole point of view. I know exactly where I am going as soon as I have the lead. ? But as for being cold?as a newspaper reporter you learn that no one tolerates you if you are cold. It?s one thing you are not allowed to be. It?s not professional. You have to turn the story in. There is no room for the artist.

I live in New York City. I could never live anywhere else. The events of September 11 forced me to confront the fact that no matter what, I live here and always will. One of my favorite things about New York is that you can pick up the phone and order anything and someone will deliver it to you. Once I lived for a year in another city, and almost every waking hour of my life was spent going to stores, buying things, loading them into the car, bringing them home, unloading them, and carrying them into the house. How anyone gets anything done in these places is a mystery to me.

In business, there is no such thing as synergy in the good sense of the term.

Most directors, I discovered, need to be convinced that the screenplay they?re going to direct has something to do with them. And this is a tricky thing if you write screenplays where women have parts that are equal to or greater than the male part. And I thought, 'Why am I out there looking for directors?' ? because you look at a list of directors, it?s all boys. It certainly was when I started as a screenwriter. So I thought, 'I?m just gonna become a director and that?ll make it easier.'

So Lillian Ross came to the party. Before dinner, she asked my mother for a tour of the house. My mother showed her around, and at a certain point, Ross came upon a picture of my three sisters and me. Are these your children? she asked my mother. Yes, my mother said. Do you ever see them? Lillian Ross asked. That did it. My mother walked Lillian Ross downstairs and back to McKelway. Out, she said.

The hardest thing about writing is writing.

Vera said: ?Why do you feel you have to turn everything into a story?? So I told her why. Because if I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me. Because if I tell the story, it doesn't hurt as much. Because if I tell the story, I can get on with it.

When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was. Not better, necessarily; not worse, necessarily; but different.

You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets.

I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

I look as young as a person can look given how old I am.

In these days of physical fitness, hair dye, and plastic surgery, you can live much of your life without feeling or even looking old. But then one day, your knee goes, or your shoulder, or your back, or your hip. Your hot flashes come to an end; things droop. Spots appear. Your cleavage looks like a peach pit. If your elbows faced forward, you would kill yourself. You?re two inches shorter than you used to be. You?re ten pounds fatter and you cannot lose a pound of it to save your soul. Your hands don?t work as well as they once did and you can?t open bottles, jars, wrappers, and especially those gadgets that are encased tightly in what seems to be molded Mylar. If you were stranded on a desert island and your food were sealed in plastic packaging, you would starve to death. You take so many pills in the morning you don?t have room for breakfast.

My idea of a perfect day is a frozen custard at Shake Shack and a walk in the park. (Followed by a Lactaid.) My idea of a perfect night is a good play and dinner at Orso. (But no garlic, or I won't be able to sleep.) The other day I found a bakery that bakes my favorite childhood cake, and it was everything I remembered: it made my week.

So many of the conscious and unconscious ways men and women treat each other have to do with romantic and sexual fantasies that are deeply ingrained not just in society but in literature.The women?s movement may manage to clean up the mess in society, but I don?t know if it can clean up the mess in our minds.

The image of the journalist as wallflower at the orgy has been replaced by the journalist as the life of the party.

We all look good for our age. Except for our necks.

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

You gotta learn to laugh; it's the way to true love.

I don?t have much of a routine. I go through periods where I work a great deal at all hours of the day whenever I am around a typewriter, and then I go through spells where I don?t do anything. I just sort of have lunch?all day. I never have been able to stick to a schedule. I work when there is something due or when I am really excited about a piece.

I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.

Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.

My mother didn?t serve Yorkshire pudding, although there is a recipe for it on page 61 of ?The Gourmet Cookbook.? My mother served potato pancakes instead. I serve Yorkshire pudding and potato pancakes. Why not? You live once.

So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?

The major concrete achievement of the women's movement of the 1970's was the Dutch treat.

We have a game we play when we?re waiting for tables in restaurants, where you have to write the five things that describe yourself on a piece of paper. When I was your age, I would have put: ambitious, Wellesley graduate, daughter, Democrat, single. Ten years later not one of those five things turned up on my list. I was: journalist, feminist, New Yorker, divorced, funny. Today not one of those five things turns up in my list: writer, director, mother, sister, happy. Whatever those five things are for you today, they won?t make the list in ten years ? not that you still won?t be some of those things, but they won?t be the five most important things about you. This is one of the most delicious things available to women, and more particularly to women than to men, I think. It?s slightly easier for us to shift, to change our minds, to take another path.

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American Film Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Novelist, Playwright, Journalist, Author and Blogger, 3-time Nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplays for films "Silkwood", "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle"